What is Data Loss and How Can Your Business Prevent It?

If your business relies on computers, as most today do, you probably have concerns about data loss. Whether caused by hardware failure, human error, theft, or a computer virus, this loss can be costly. This is why it’s important for you to establish a prevention system at your business to lower the risks of information loss.

The Dangers: Loss of Unique Information and Financial Costs

According to the data recovery company DeepSpar, “hard drive failure is the most common cause of data loss” and accounts for 38 percent of these scenarios. This loss can be detrimental to your business. If you lose financial reports, client information, or systems that are unique to your business, you can be down for days. Once this information is lost, data reconstruction becomes a priority.

The rebuild takes employee time, and can delay other projects and network updates. DeepSpar estimates that an IT specialist who recovers lost data for eight hours costs the company about $350, assuming the in-house employee makes the national average wage.

Data on Mobile Devices

With all of the information we store on smartphones and tablets, mobile device data loss is becoming an even bigger concern. Whether the devices are company-owned or employees use them as part of a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, the loss can be detrimental. When an employee uses their mobile devices to access company systems and third-party applications, there is a lot of business information on these devices. If the phone or tablet is lost or stolen, this information could end up in the wrong hands.

Prevention: Have a Backup Plan

A backup plan is key to your business data protection strategy and encourages you to store data in a separate, safe location in case the original data is damaged or lost. Often times, the backup is stored offsite in case there is a natural disaster or burglary at your office.

Updating data frequently is also strongly advised. Updates can be done as often as daily or as infrequently as quarterly, depending on your operations. It is also important to do periodic testing of the data to ensure it is viewable and accurate. This can help prevent loss in case the backup becomes corrupted.

In addition to the offsite backup, it is recommended to have a third backup somewhere else. This can be done with a trusted online cloud service. In addition to keeping your information safe, you can also enjoy the benefit of being able to access it anywhere you have an internet connection.

Access Levels

It is important to have your IT team set data access levels outlining which employees can access any data on your network. It is also a good idea to develop a confidentiality policy for employees that restricts their usage of your company data. Employees sign the agreement when they start working for you; you can set up any consequences for breaking this policy to help enforce it.

Data Encryption to Protect Against Losses

Don’t limit your data protection plan to just desktops and laptops around the office. It should extend to tablets, smartphones, and even apps your employees use on your company network. How you do this depends on the type of data you’re protecting. Over-the-air encryption protects company data that is in motion between employee devices. A common example is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which protects data that transfers over Hypertext Transfer (http) or the Internet Protocol.

SSL creates a secure session between the desktop or mobile device and the company server. Your server has an SSL Certificate with public key and private key; public key encrypts the data and private key deciphers it. The encryption creates a safe session for the user without risk of manipulation of the data.

At-rest encryption applies to the encoding of data that does not move on networks; the data does not move off the device itself. An example is password protection. Use a different password for each major service so that if a virus compromises one account it does not affect the others. A password generator is useful for suggesting strong, unique strings of characters.

In-use encryption is the third main type and protects in-process data, whether it is in the process of creation, deletion, upload, or another action. Secure the data against human manipulation or error by controlling access to the memory. With the encryption, the only retrieval of information is from its at-rest position and users must have company authorization to access it.

There are steps you can take to prevent data loss within your company. By developing and implementing a prevention strategy, you can help protect yourself from any major data problems.